The annual Seoul Lantern Festival (서울빛초롱축제) is a colorful festival of lights in South Korea that is one of the most popular festivals across Seoul. It is one festival celebrated in Seoul that you must see to experience the amazing sights!
What is the Seoul Lantern Festival?
Since its inception in 2009, it has become one of the iconic festivals of Seoul that takes place every November. The theme of the festival is different every year but the one thing that remains constant is the large number of paper lanterns and LED sculptures along the Cheonggyecheon Stream.
You will see lanterns on the 1.3 kilometer long path that runs along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. There are many other things to see along the way from Cheonggye Plaza to Supyogyo Bridge. And every year, about 3 million visitors come to see and enjoy the Seoul Lantern Festival.
Many other countries also display their lantern decorations in this festival including the USA and China. The lanterns follow the annual theme, stories from the Korean lore, and many others. Even people launch their paper lanterns from a small section of the stream.
Best Lantern Festival Experience
As the Seoul Lantern festival spans for about 1 kilometer section of the Cheonggyecheon Stream, the best way to enjoy is to take a walk between Cheonggye Plaza and the Supyo Bridge. If you plan to take the subway, then the best exits are the Euljiro-1 or Jonggak near the Cheonggye Plaza or Euljiro-3 or Jongno 3-ga on the opposite side, the Supyo Bridge. From these exits, its just a few minutes walk and then you can enjoy all the enchanting lanterns!
Seoul Lantern Festival 2020
This year, the Seoul Lantern Festival 2020 started on October 30 and will continue till the end of the year, December 31, 2020. The theme “Twinkling Light of Hope” is perfect for the year of the coronavirus pandemic. It targets to instill hope in people and raise foot traffic in shops affected by the pandemic. You will be able to enjoy the lights in four special tourist zones that are most affected by the COVID-19 disease. The four special tourist zones include Jamsil, Itaewon, Dongdaemun, and Myeongdong. The events will be organized in the same order, starting with Jamsil.
Seoul Lantern Festival 2020 Special Tourist Zones
- Jamsil: October 30 – November 6, 2020
- Itaewon: November 4 – December 31, 2020
- Dongdaemun Fashion Town: November 6 – November 15, 2020
- Myeongdong: November 13 – November 22, 2020
All the four sites will be decorated with Hanji lanterns. These lanterns are uniquely designed to reflect different themes that show of the location’s characteristics. Along with lanterns, you will also see a moon sculpture that carries the wishes for speedy recovery from the coronavirus.
Jamsil Special Tourist Zone
From October 30 to November 6, you can enjoy the warmth of the hanji lanterns and the colorful autumn fall foliage in Jamsil Seokchon Lake Park. The theme of this location is the “Maple and Fallen Leaves”. Take pictures with “Songsong” and “Papa” dressed up in the autumnal colors and decorated with bright lights!
Itaewon Special Tourist Zone
With the theme of popular K-drama “Itaewon Class”, the Itaewon will be enchanting in lights and lanterns. You can even meet your fav K-drama stars Park Sae-royi and Jo Yi-seo through the designer lanterns! You can enjoy the beautiful sights in Itaewon from November 4 to December 31.
Dongdaemun (Doota Mall)
Dongdaemun Fashion Town, the fashion and shopping hub shows off the beauty of Seoul Lantern Festival with the theme of “Shopping and Fashion”. It is an ideal theme for a tourist favorite shopping destination. You can see the real image of Heunginjimun reproduced from Hanji lanterns. With every step you take, you can create some unforgettable memories in the Seoul Lantern Festival 2020 from November 6 to November 15.
Myeongdong Special Tourist Zone
The hottest place of Seoul, Myeongdong will be decked up with lanterns decorating the area under the theme of “Christmas”. You will be fascinated by the Christmas tree made of hanji lanterns! This unique and gigantic 7-meter tall tree will be placed right in the city center for all to enjoy from November 13 to November 22!
Special Exhibition – Traveller’s Lounge at Seoullo 7017
From November 9 to November 22, you can enjoy the special exhibition at the Traveller’s Lounge at Seoullo 7017. This exhibition reflects the Royal Family Procession hanji lanterns that were displayed at the National Parks of Singapore during the mid-autumn festival.
Price: All the events are free for admission
Performance Timing: 18:00 – 22:00
Overall the Seoul Lantern Festival is an amazing event. If you are planning a visit to Seoul in the month of November, then this is a must visit event in the city even if you have to take a little detour!
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